About one third of the population have some form of gum disease and more teeth are lost through gum disease than tooth decay .Our top priority is to help all our patients to have healthy teeth and gums, and we therefore place a strong emphasis on prevention and patient education. Prevention is always better than cure, with many long term health benefits. Screening for gum disease forms an integral part of your regular dental examination .Some patients may be more prone to gum disease and so regular preventative advice and care is essential.
Our hygienist plays a key role in this, helping you to avoid or combat gum disease. By keeping your mouth in tip top condition you are likely to need fewer visits to the dentist for treatment or toothache. Smile with confidence and keep your teeth for life.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease describes swelling, soreness or infection of the tissues supporting the teeth. There are two main forms of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontal disease.
What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis means inflammation of the gums. This is when the gums around the teeth become very red and swollen. Often the swollen gums bleed when they are brushed during cleaning.
What is periodontal disease?
Long-standing gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease. There are a number of types of periodontal disease and they all affect the tissues supporting the teeth. As the disease gets worse the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw is lost, making the teeth loose. If this is not treated, the teeth may eventually fall out.
Am I likely to suffer from gum disease?
Probably. Most people suffer from some form of gum disease, and it is the major cause of tooth loss in adults. However, the disease develops very slowly in most people, and it can be slowed down with a good daily home care oral health regime and regular maintenance visits and professional advice. This should allow you to keep most of your teeth for life.
What is the cause of gum disease?
All gum diseases are caused by plaque. Plaque is a film of bacteria which forms on the surface of the teeth and gums every day. Many of the bacteria in plaque are completely harmless, but there are some that have been shown to be the main cause of gum disease. To prevent and treat gum disease, you need to make sure you remove all the plaque from your teeth every day. This is done by brushing and flossing.
Can gum disease affect my general health?
There is now some evidence to suggest that poor oral hygiene and gum disease may be linked to heart disease; so preventing gum disease or treating your gum condition could possibly be saving more than just your teeth.
How will smoking affect my gums and teeth?
Smoking can also lead to gum disease. Patients who smoke are more likely to produce bacterial plaque, which leads to gum disease. The gums are affected because smoking causes a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, so the infected gums fail to heal. Smoking causes people to have more dental plaque and for gum disease to progress more rapidly than in non-smokers.
What happens if gum disease is not treated?
Unfortunately, gum disease progresses painlessly on the whole so that you do not notice the damage it is doing. However, the bacteria are sometimes more active and this makes your gums sore. This can lead to gum abscesses, and pus may ooze from around the teeth. Over a number of years, the bone supporting the teeth can be lost. If the disease is left untreated for a long time, treatment can become more difficult.
How do I know if I have gum disease?
The first sign is blood on the toothbrush or in the rinsing water when you clean your teeth. Your gums may also bleed when you are eating, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. Your breath may also become unpleasant.
The first thing to do is to arrange a dental visit so that we may examine your teeth and gums and advise you as regards appropriate treatment.
Once I have had periodontal disease, can I get it again?
Periodontal diseases are never cured, but may be stabilised with good home and professional care. The successful treatment and control of gum disease is very much a team effort, involving the patient, dentist and hygienist, with the need for a long-term commitment from the patient as regards ongoing professional and home care.